Generation Zero on Auckland’s Housing Shortage

July 21, 2017

Design for Auckland

This week the ADM team get the lowdown from Generation Zero about the implications of the housing crisis on Auckland’s younger generations.

House prices are high, supply is low, and the sheer thought of the money required for a deposit is enough to send a shiver down one’s spine.

This issue is of particular concern to Aucklanders currently in their early 20s to 30s, branded ‘Generation Rent’ due to the unlikelihood of them owning a home. In fact, according to economist and subject expert Shamubeel Eaqub, Generation Rent will soon be the majority of the population.

We spoke with Leroy Beckett, Auckland Director of Generation Zero, about his thoughts on the issue.

Generation Zero supports smarter transport, liveable cities & independence from fossil fuels – do you consider there to be a correlation between these issues and the affordability of our housing?

There is a clear relationship between the homes we are building, where we are building them, and transport. Denser, better planned housing is key to a thriving public transport system, which is the key to reducing our carbon emissions. That denser, well planned development is also what’s going to lead to more affordable homes. Building homes of all shapes and sizes to reflect people’s needs, in areas people want to live and which already have infrastructure, is the best way to improve the city.

Britomart

Efficient public transport systems are key to improving housing affordability.

 

The younger generation have been branded ‘Generation Rent’ due to declining home ownership rates – what are some of the important moves which need to be made to improve the home ownership prospects of younger people?

We know the solution to the housing crisis is to build thousands more homes every year. There are finer details but that’s the only solution. We need to ensure that the homes that are built are bought by the people who need them. Part of that is building homes that suit different lifestyles, so single people and couples without children, the fastest growing household types, aren’t competing for homes with families who have children. There is also a real need to give young people, and all Aucklanders who a stuck renting for the foreseeable future, greater tenancy security and rights.

Streets with houses that have a visual connection to the street are more likely to be used by locals for walking and jogging (Mangere, Auckland)

Housing stock needs to suit different lifestyles

 

Auckland hasn’t yet seen a rise in the types of co-housing developments now common in other global cities facing housing affordability issues. Do you think these developments are a potential solution to the problem?

Definitely, in the future a lot of our housing could be co-housing. They have the potential to reduce rent prices and increase apartment types for families, which are things that would clearly go down well in Auckland. They also increase construction quality as it’s often a higher priority in co-housing developments than in traditional developer led projects.

The Nightingale 3.0 will be another valuable contribution to Melbourne's affordable apartments market

Co-housing developments, such as Melbourne’s Nightingale 3.0, could help to bring down Auckland’s rent prices whilst increasing apartment types for families.

 

Generation Zero recently met with the Council’s Housing Task Force – what do you see as the big issues that the Task Force should be prioritising?

We think the recommendations in the report are for the most part sensible and worth exploring, particularly around revenue, a land value uplift rate, land tax, road pricing and congestion charges, Those are all ways to help meet the $7 billion dollar infrastructure gap Auckland is facing, and encourage the city to develop in positive ways. We are slightly concerned about that the focus on building homes quickly, no matter where, will lead to poor planning and increased sprawl which increases costs and congestion.

Auckland Sprawl

Increased sprawl will result in higher infrastructure costs and congestion rates, and may worsen the affordability issue.

 

Lastly, what advice do you have for younger people looking to become involved in tackling climate change and improving the liveability of our cities?

The two are so closely tied together. Cities are becoming the leaders on climate action. There’s so much we can do to decrease our emissions, partly because cities are nimbler than countries, and partly because the solutions are pretty clear. For young people it’s about taking part in your community and fighting for things that will benefit the future of the city, not the status quo: bike lanes, public transport, affordable housing, public spaces. Generation Zero is always looking for people with good ideas too.

Generation Zero

Generation Zero recommends youth fight for things that will benefit the future of the city, such as bike lanes, public transport, public space and affordable housing.

 

Thanks to Leroy for taking the time to talk us. You can find out more about Generation Zero and their latest campaigns on their website or Twitter. Their newest campaign, The Zero Carbon Act, which looks to commit New Zealand to zero carbon by 2050 or sooner, has already amassed 5000 signatures.

Looking for something similar to read? Our recent feature on Australia’s Nightingale housing developments, offers an in-depth look at the co-housing model and the benefits of housing people instead of cars.

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